January 19, 2022

"Code Red" on the Oregon Coast

 Don't worry,  this time code red is a good thing.

Below is the latest high-resolution surface temperature forecast for Saturday at 4 PM.  Red colors are temperatures above 60F along the Oregon coast!    The kind of code red I like.  And near Brookings, just north of the Oregon/CA border temperatures surge into the mid-to-upper 60s.


On Sunday, the code red temperatures are even more extensive along the coast as well as extending along the western slopes of the Oregon Cascades,


The highly skillful European Center model is going for 66F in Brookings, Oregon on Saturday....and 62F on Tuesday.  Brookings is well known for being the warmest location in the southern Oregon "banana belt."  And there is a reason (more later).


Our "code red" temperatures are associated with a high-amplitude upper-level (500 hPa) ridge over the northeast Pacific, with two "bookend" troughs on both sides (see below).  This is a very stable pattern.


Why does high pressure aloft make us warm--and particularly over the coastal zone? 

 First, high-pressure areas are associated with sinking air that prevents mid-level and upper-level clouds.  More sun! And the sinking air is also warmed by compression.   

But to really understand the implication of the upper high pressure, let's examine its reflection at the surface, illustrated by the forecast sea level pressure pattern at 4 PM Saturday (shown below).  The surface high is centered just offshore of central Vancouver Island, with northeasterly flow (winds from the northeast) to its southwest over coastal Oregon.


Northeasterly winds can sink over the western slopes of the Cascades and coastal terrain, producing MORE compression and warming.  Brookings is in the "banana belt" for a reason...it is downstream an area of continuous high terrain, extending all the way from the coast to the Cascade crest (see below).   So when the air sinks down such terrain it is very warm.

Northeasterly winds also keep the cool marine influence offshore and prevent the development of low-level fog and low clouds. 


So if you can, head to the Oregon coast this weekend for sun and springtime warmth.  Will be a bit cooler (mid-50s), but still decent in Long Beach, along the southern WA coast.   

But the southern Oregon banana belt is where you want to be.  Mid-60s and sun in mid-January is a real treat around here.



15 comments:

  1. I'm curious, is this same type of atmospheric configuration (albeit at a very different time of year) that led to last June's heat dome? (I seem to recall that at the time, you mentioned it was not an uncommon pattern.) --Larry

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  2. I like winter, and i especially like good snow and not the current rain runneled refrozen dumpster garbage. When can we expect a return to a good winter weather pattern?

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    1. The Northwest is known for rain during winter time, even 40 days of it in a row. I'm unsure where do you live here in the northwest, but snow during the winter time is no longer a regular event here in the valley. Now in eastern Oregon, yes. Unfortunately, it seems that our weather has changed and we no longer really have winter. Spring summer and fall, 3 seasons is all we seem to have now. I've lived in the northwest my entire 54 years and have definitely seen the change in that time. Good luck with it going back to what it used to be. Maybe move to where the snow is now or get used to our beautiful rain and our beautiful green trees. I miss the snow as well but I've been all over this planet and wouldn't trade the Northwest for any place else.

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    2. Thank you for proving my point, succinctly.

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    3. I said the current weather pattern, not the climate...

      I've lived here my entire life, i know what our climate is like.

      So i suppose i should have been very obvious and asked : why idea when the high pressure breaks down and we return to more wintry weather?

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    4. I particularly liked the reference to "I've lived here my entire life, I know what our climate is like." So your entire proof of your point is purely anecdotal - no statistics, facts or anything of substance, just a "feeling." So once again, thank you for proving my point.

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    5. Eric I've lived in my location since 1987 in Southern Oregon. I'm big into gardening, and have a large orchard, and I'm very active in our irrigation association. We are on a long ride down to dryer and hotter. For instance, last summer the Talent irrigation association turned off water to the orchards in the Medford Valley putting them into crisis- they were just hoping to save the orchards, no thought of any production. https://www.mailtribune.com/top-stories/2021/06/14/talent-irrigation-district-shutting-off-canals/ We used to live right on the transition snow zone here at 2400 ft. But more often than not, we get rain not snow these days, and our normal rainfall is in the 40 to 50 inch range. So far we've had 17.7 in since October. Then there is the massive tree mortality in the forest around us that has been going on for the last 10 years. 150 to 200 year old trees are croaking, lots of them with some slopes at 30 to 50% mortality. Which brings us to wildfires, lots of those now, big and unstoppable.

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  3. Road Trip to southern Oregon coast this weekend sounds good...

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  4. Brookings resident here. Temps have been in the 60s and actually low 70s at my property several times this “winter” month already.

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  5. I snagged a campsite at Cape Disappointment based on your earlier post.

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  6. I'm just waiting for the inevitable response to this forecast of "because of AGW/ClimateChange/Man/Bear/Pig." Some idiot from the MSM actually claimed yesterday that the recent earthquake was caused by...you guessed it. You can't make this sh-t up.

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  7. Bring back winter! One more good dose of lowland snow, please!

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  8. We're getting thunderstorms near Lewiston Idaho right now. Definitely starting to feel more like spring. But pretty strange weather for January.

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  9. It's January. Temperatures over 60 F don't make me happy, they make me uneasy. Winter is the time for the plants and animals to rest. If I wanted to be where it's warm in January, I'd have moved to San Diego.

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    1. I agree, anything over 60 makes me not only uneasy, but in full - blown panic mode. Care to join me in a sucide pact, kid?

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